Thus, when Melissa Williams passed away in 2007 from a series of pulmonary embolisms while taking Yaz, the doomed woman might well have also been taking Beyaz; such are the blurred lines that separate the two contraceptives.
Melissa’s family believes that “Melly,” as they used to call her, was felled by the drospirenone-based contraceptive she was taking at the time. While Bayer maintains its newer-generation birth control pills are just as safe as older contraceptives and carry a similar risk for blood clots, the presence of literally thousands of lawsuits suggest otherwise.
Beyaz birth control is one of the Bayer products that is thought to carry a higher risk for Beyaz blood clots than first- and second-generation contraceptives.
Meanwhile, as profiled in a release by the National Women’s Health Network (NWHN 7/13), the late Melissa Williams and her story moves the tragedy from a statistic to a more human perspective. Melissa, according to her sister Megan, was a vibrant human being who is no longer here.
Her family believes it was the drospirenone-based contraceptive Yaz, so similar to Beyaz drospirenone, that took Melissa from them.
“My sister Melissa (affectionately called ‘Melly’) was a fun-loving, quick-to-laugh, caring and generous soul. She was a forester, who loved to play in the woods and hug trees,” says her sister Megan in a profile of Melissa released by NWHN. “She was never a fan of doing her hair, and often wore a hat. A few weeks before she died, Melly went to New York City and saw Wicked - a song from the musical, ‘For Good,’ was featured at her funeral. In remembrance, I designed a hat that I would love to knit and be able to give to her, with a note that says: “Dearest Melly, because I knew you, I have been changed FOR GOOD! (original emphasis)
“We - my family and I - strongly believe that my sister’s death was caused by her birth control. She died of a blood clot - a pulmonary embolism. Designing the hat for her was part of my grieving process.”
The web page for Yaz and Beyaz drospirenone, as noted above, cautions that women over the age of 35 who are smokers should not take Yaz or Beyaz birth control. Melissa did not smoke.
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“Just because a drug is prescribed or available on the market does not necessarily mean it’s safe. You should not assume that a drug is safe; you should talk to your medical provider. And, I would also suggest talking to other women to find out about their experiences. Women have to make their own decisions about the drugs they take.”